Can Ducks Eat Onions? (All You Need To Know)

Can Ducks Eat Onions?

Ducks are omnivores, which means they have a varied diet. From aquatic plants, small fish, and insects to grains and seeds, ducks will dabble in a bit of everything. Their diet can vary based on their habitat, age, and the availability of food. But, can ducks eat onions?

No, ducks can’t eat onions because they contain thiosulfate, which can cause hemolytic anemia.

In this article we will learn more about why ducks should not eat onions.

Why Can’t Ducks Eat Onions?

  1. Allium Family: Onions, as many of us know, belong to the Allium family, which also includes garlic, leeks, and chives. These plants contain a compound called thiosulfate. While this compound is harmless to humans (and indeed, gives onions their characteristic flavor), it’s a different story for our quacking comrades.
  2. Thiosulfate: Thiosulfate can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells in ducks, leading to a condition known as hemolytic anemia. In simpler terms, the red blood cells that transport oxygen around the duck’s body can burst, leading to several health problems. Symptoms of this condition include lethargy, weakness, rapid breathing, and even death in severe cases.
  3. A Duck’s Digestive System: Ducks have a unique digestive system that’s optimized for a diet of aquatic plants, small fish, insects, and grains. Introducing onions, especially in large quantities, can disrupt this delicate balance. Their stomachs, or more accurately their gizzards, are not equipped to handle the strong compounds found in onions.

Can Ducklings Eat Onions?

No, ducklings can’t eat onions either. Onions belongs to the allium family, which are known to contain thiosulfate, which is very dangerous for ducklings. It can effect the ducks breathing leading to death in worst cases.

Onions Nutritional Value

Below is the nutritional value of 100 grams of onion.

  • Energy: 40 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 10.1 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g

It also contains several vitamins and minerals as listed below.

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium

Are Onions Healthy for Ducks?

No onions are not healthy for ducks because of the thiosulfate. Onions do contain some healthy vitamins and minerals, but ducks should never eat onions.

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C boosts a duck’s immune system and promotes healthy feathers and beaks. It’s essential for their overall vitality.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Vitamin B6 is the duck’s brain booster. It aids in neurological health and energy metabolism, ensuring lively quacks and active paddling.
  • Potassium: Potassium is a duck’s muscle ally. It ensures smooth muscle contractions for graceful swimming and supports heart health.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus strengthens a duck’s bones and aids in converting food to energy. It’s the backbone of their energetic foraging.
  • Calcium: Calcium is crucial for robust duck bones and hard eggshells. Mama ducks especially need it to protect their future ducklings.

Other Veggies Ducks Can Eat

Ducks loves veggies and below are some great alternatives to onions.


Ducks, with their playful antics and soothing quacks, have a special place in the hearts of many. To ensure they lead healthy, happy lives, it’s crucial to be informed about their dietary needs. So, the next time you’re enjoying a delicious onion dish, remember to keep it well out of reach of your duck pals.

After all, a healthy duck is a happy duck, and we all want to keep the quacks coming!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. I'm not an expert or a veterinarian.

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